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knit (one's) eyebrows
To furrow one's brow, often due to worry or confusion. When I asked Bill about what happened, and he knit his eyebrows, I knew I was about to hear some bad news.
raise an eyebrow
To show confusion, surprise, concern, or disapproval, either literally (often by actually raising an eyebrow) or figuratively. When I told my mom how much money we would need, she raised an eyebrow and asked me to add it up again. You need to stop coming in late every day—the boss is starting to raise an eyebrow. My grandmother definitely raised an eyebrow when I stopped going to church.
cause (some) eyebrows to raise
To elicit shock, surprise, or offense, typically through unconventional actions or words. The phrase typically suggests negative attention or judgment. Her irreverent chatter during the ceremony caused some eyebrows to raise. My best friend's pink hair definitely caused eyebrows to raise at our very strict school.
cause some raised eyebrows
To elicit shock, surprise, or offense, typically through unconventional actions or words. The phrase typically suggests negative attention or judgment. Her irreverent chatter during the ceremony caused some raised eyebrows. My best friend's pink hair definitely caused some raised eyebrows at our very strict school.
down to a gnat's eyebrow
In consideration of the most minute detail. I have planned this itinerary down to a gnat's eyebrow, so we are not deviating from it, even for a minute!
raise (some/a few) eyebrows
To elicit shock, surprise, or offense, typically through unconventional actions or words. The phrase typically suggests negative attention or judgment. Her irreverent chatter during the ceremony raised eyebrows. My best friend's pink hair definitely raised a few eyebrows at our very strict school.
1. verb To physically hold something. Hang on tight so that you don't fall.
2. To suspend something from some surface or thing. In this usage, a noun or pronoun is used between "hang" and "on." We always hang our stockings on the mantle on Christmas Eve.
3. To wait. Often used as an imperative. Hang on, I can't find my keys in my bag. A: "There's a customer waiting." B: "She'll just have to hang on a minute."
4. To try to assign responsibility for something to someone. In this usage, a noun or pronoun is used between "hang" and "on." Don't hang our lateness on me—I was actually ready on time!
5. To persist. I don't know how much longer I can hang on without a job.
6. To depend on someone or something. Whether or not I enjoy this weekend hangs on what the doctor tells me when he calls.
7. To keep something for someone. Can you hang on to my mail until I'm back in town?
8. To wait on the phone. Please hang on while I transfer your call.
raise (one's) eyebrows
1. To lift one's eyebrows in a display of shock, surprise, or offense. She raised her eyebrows at the idea, but after I went through the details of the plan, she was agreed to support it.
2. To elicit shock, surprise, or offense, typically through unconventional actions or words. The phrase typically suggests negative attention or judgment. Her irreverent chatter during the ceremony raised many people's eyebrows. Sarah's pink hair definitely raised a few eyebrows, but if she likes it, then that's all that matters.
cause (some) eyebrows to raise and cause some raised eyebrows
Fig. to shock people; to surprise and dismay people. (The same as raise some eyebrows.) John caused eyebrows to raise when he married a woman half his age. If you want to cause some eyebrows to raise, just start singing as you walk down the street.
down to a gnat 's eyebrow
Fig. down to the smallest detail. He described what the thief was wearing down to a gnat's eyebrow. No use trying to sneak anything out of the refrigerator. Mom knows what's in there, down to a gnat's eyebrow.
1. to wait awhile. Hang on a minute. I need to talk to you. Hang on. Let me catch up with you.
2. to survive for awhile. I think we can hang on without electricity for a little while longer.
3. [for an illness] to linger or persist. This cold has been hanging on for a month. This is the kind of flu that hangs on for weeks.
4. be prepared for fast or rough movement. (Usually a command.) Hang on! The train is going very fast. Hang on! We're going to crash!
5. to pause in a telephone conversation. Please hang on until I get a pen. If you'll hang on, I'll get her.
(someone's) every word Cliché to listen closely or with awe to what someone says. I am hanging on your every word. Please go on. The audience hung on her every word throughout the speech.
hang on(to someone or something) and hold on (to someone or something)
1. Lit. to grasp someone or something. She hung on to her husband to keep warm. She sat there and hung on, trying to keep warm.
2. Fig. to detain someone or something. Please hang on to Tom if he's still there. I need to talk to him.
hang something on someone
Sl. to blame something on someone; to frame someone for something. (See also hang something on someone or something.) Don't try to hang the blame on me! The sheriff tried to hang the bank robbery on Jed.
hang something on someone or something
to drape or hook something on someone or something. (See also .) Hangthissign on Walter and see how he looks. Please hang this sign on the front door.
raise some eyebrowsand raise a few eyebrows
Fig. to shock or surprise people mildly (by doing or saying something). (Some can be replaced with a few, someone's, a lot of, etc.) What you just said may raise some eyebrows, but it shouldn't make anyone really angry. John's sudden marriage to Ann raised a few eyebrows.
cause raised eyebrows
Also, raise eyebrows. Cause surprise or disapproval, as in At school his purple hair usually causes raised eyebrows. This transfer of a physical act (raising one's eyebrows) to the feelings it may express took place in the early 1900s. Lytton Strachey used the term in The Eminent Victorians (1918): "The most steady-going churchman hardly raises an eyebrow at it now."
1. hang on to. Cling tightly to something, retain, as in Hang on to those papers before they blow away. [Mid-1800s] Also see hang on to your hat.
2. Continue persistently, persevere, as in This cough is hanging on much longer than I expected, or He was hanging on, hoping business would improve when interest rates went down. This usage was sometimes embellished to hang on by one's eyelashes or eyebrows or eyelids , meaning "to persist at any cost." [Second half of 1800s]
3. Keep a telephone connection open, as in Please hang on, I'll see if he's in. [First half of 1900s]
4. Wait for a short time, be patient, as in Hang on, I'm getting it as fast as I can. [First half of 1900s]
5. Depend on, as in Our plans hang on their decision about the new park. [Colloquial; second half of 1900s]
6. Blame on, as in They'll try to hang that robbery on the same gang, but I don't think they'll succeed. [Colloquial; first half of 1900s]
7. hang one on. Get very drunk, as in Come on, let's go and hang one on. [Slang; mid-1900s] Also see the subsequent idioms beginning with hang on.
COMMON If something that someone does raises eyebrows, it surprises, shocks, or offends people. The size of his salary has certainly raised eyebrows. His outspoken comments raised a few eyebrows at the meeting. Note: You can also say that something causes raised eyebrows. Her articles have caused some raised eyebrows over the years.
raise your eyebrows (or an eyebrow)show surprise, disbelief, or mild disapproval.
raise your ˈeyebrows (at something)show, by the expression on your face, that you disapprove of or are surprised by something: Eyebrows were raised when he arrived at the wedding in jeans. ♢ When he said he was leaving, there were a lot of raised eyebrows.
1. To affix or mount something to some place or fixture that holds it and prevents it from falling: Please hang your hats on the hooks of the coat rack. I hung the picture on the wall.
2. To cling tightly to something: The cat hung on to the draperies until I was able to get it down.
3. To wait for a short period of time: Hang on, would you? I'll be there in a moment.
4. To continue persistently; persevere: The family is hanging on despite financial problems.
5. To depend on something or someone for an outcome: My whole future could hang on the results of this test.
6. To blame something on someone, especially unfairly: We lost the game, but you can't hang that on me.
To cause surprise or mild disapproval.
up to one's ears/eyes/eyebrows, to be
To be completely engrossed or overwhelmed. These phrases, likening physical immersion in something to figurative engrossment, have been around a long time. Richard Barnfield used “In love up to the eares” in The Affectionate Shepheard (1594). Anthony Trollope had “All the Burtons are full up to their eyes with good sense” in The Claverings (1866), about a century after the term came into use.